The Virginia Wesleyan men’s tennis team is having a phenomenal season. The team is coached by Coach Martin Perry and Assistant Coach Abby Eberhard. Their record in conference play is 7-1 and they have “set their eyes on winning the ODAC conference title,” says senior Mitchell Perry. The tennis team’s success has many factors. Coach Perry and Coach Eberhard both discussed how the team’s success is attributed to the attitudes and gratefulness of the players to be ready to compete. The tennis team also practices twice per day. Coach Perry said, “one practice is for developing and refining techniques and running drills, and the other is for match play, which helps us be successful.” The leadership and determination from the seniors have formed a headlight for the rest of the team to follow. The seniors are Anthony Wilson, Michael Portera and Mitchell Perry.
Mitchell Perry wanted to come to VWU to play for his dad and experience the many opportunities VWU has to offer.
Mitchell Perry recently recorded two consecutive ODAC Player of the Week honors. When asked how he feels about being the ODAC Player of the Week back to back he said, “I feel pretty honored to receive this award back to back weeks. We have had a lot of great opportunities recently with all the competition we’ve had the past two weeks.”
The team as a whole has been performing well together and Mitchell Perry makes that really clear when asked about what drives their success. “Our team chemistry in my opinion is one of the leading causes of our success this year. Right now it couldn’t be better, our doubles has been at its highest this season,” he said. This shows in results as the Marlins are having their best year in doubles in the past three years.
Henry West, junior tennis player, reiterated the importance of their tough scheduling and that this is a reason why the team has prepared to compete every day.
West said, “Coach Perry loves to schedule hard throughout the season, especially against out of conference teams. This allows us to play against high level opponents all season to make sure we’re prepared for the tough matches in conference and then eventually ODAC playoffs.” West found that this school and the tennis program contained exactly what he was looking for as an institution.
“I wanted to experience a new culture and I’m so glad I did. Not to mention the obvious of the beach that not many other D3 schools have,” said West. The team could be described in two words as “straight grinders,” according to West.
He then elaborated on why they attract fans and retain fans. “Our team competes hard everytime we step out onto the court; we’re going to run for every single ball. We love to get fired up and love it even more when the fans get fired up too. A lot of people have never watched a college tennis match but if they come to one, I promise they’ll want to come to another.”
Coach Perry and Coach Eberhard believe this program has a lot to offer to both the current team and the future. Coach Perry’s words were, “I am extremely proud of the teams this season. Even though there were some obstacles to get around, everyone has maintained a positive attitude and played to the best of their abilities. We look forward to the conference tournament and for next season as well.”
The VWU tennis team’s short term goal is to improve with each match. Their long term goal is to bring back a conference title and prepare for next season.
By Isaac Guzman